Complaints Process

We will give careful attention to your complaint. If it raises a matter that we can and should investigate, we will do so as soon as is practicable. We will always act fairly, independently and be impartial. We will:

  • state how long it may take to deal with your complaint
  • provide the name of a contact person at our Office.

If the complaint is justifiable, we will suggest changes to resolve the problem.

If we do not investigate your complaint, we will:

  • explain why
  • suggest an alternative avenue for resolving the problem if we know of one.

We recommend that you complain with the agency before approaching our Office.

Our standards of service are set out in greater detail in our service charter below. We welcome your feedback and suggestions about our standards of service as well as on our performance.

This service charter sets out:

  • the Office’s service commitment to you
  • your responsibilities when you complain to us
  • how you can give us feedback

Our service commitment

We will treat you with respect and courtesy

  • We will be polite, respectful and courteous, and communicate with you in a way you can understand.

We will be fair

  • You (or your representative) will have a reasonable opportunity to give us information to support your complaint.
  • We will give you reasons for our decisions either over the phone or in writing.

We will make it easy to complain to us

  • You can make a complaint via our online complaint form, telephone, letter or in person. Sometimes we may need to ask you to set out your complaint in more detail or provide information in writing.
  • If you do not speak English, you can use the Translating and Interpreter Service to contact us. Call 131 450.
  • If you have a hearing, sight or speech impairment, you can use the National Relay Service to contact us.
    • Call 133 677, then ask for 1300 362 072.
    • Speak and Listen users call 1300 555 727, then ask for 1300 362 072.
    • Internet Relay users connect to the National Relay Service, then ask for 1300 362 072.
  • We have information available about what we do in many languages on our website.
  • You can authorise someone else to make a complaint on your behalf, however we may seek your permission (generally in writing).
  • You can complain anonymously, although our ability to deal with the complaint may be limited.

We will operate efficiently

  • We will keep you informed of your complaint’s progress.

Your responsibilities when you make a complaint

So that we can meet our commitments, you should:

  • Be polite, respectful and courteous.  We will restrict how we communicate with people who abuse or threaten our staff.
  • Tell us if you have any special requirements to access our services. For example, if you need an interpreter or information provided in an alternative format.
  • When making a complaint, provide us with relevant information to understand your concerns.
  • Respond to our requests for information as quickly as you can.
  • Give us complete and accurate information.
  • Tell us of any changes to your contact details.

If you are disappointed with our service

If you are disappointed with our service you may raise the issue with that staff member.

You may raise the matter with the staff member's supervisor by using the contact details on our website if you are:

  • not comfortable raising the matter with the staff member concerned, or
  • you are still dissatisfied after speaking to that staff member.

Examples of possible complaints about our service are:

  • delay
  • rudeness
  • conflict of interest or bias
  • failing to follow up or to do something that was promised.

A complaint about our service is not:

  • a disagreement about an assessment of facts
  • a disagreement about an evaluation of evidence
  • a request for a review of a decision (see below).

If you are dissatisfied with our decision

If you are dissatisfied with a decision we have made about your complaint, please refer to information on review of our decisions.